Just one post yesterday, “Is This (Still) The Age of the Superstar?”:
This will be a quick piece, because I have a very busy morning. But Alan Krueger gave a fun talk at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which he used evidence of growing inequality among musical artists as a jumping off point for a discussion of broader inequality issues. As he notes, there is a widely known theory from Rosen actually called the superstar theory, which could explain the takeoff of the 1 percent, in rock and in life.
But I was struck by the fact that his chart of growing inequality in the music business cut off in 2003. A lot has happened in the decade since: basically, the music business has been hugely disrupted by the Internet. I’d be very curious to know whether that hasn’t changed the calculus: radio play matters much less, the audience has fractured, performers can build a following on Pandora and Youtube.
And we also seem to be seeing a general shift in the sources of rising inequality, from inequality in compensation to good old-fashioned capital versus labor.
So I wonder if even Alan Krueger is now behind the curve here — and in any case I’d love to see how the trend for the music business looks since 2003.